Molly Ringwald, who starred in The Breakfast Club, has admitted she now finds the cult 1980s film “troubling”.
“At one point in the film, the bad-boy character, John Bender, ducks under the table where my character, Claire, is sitting, to hide from a teacher,” she wrote. “While there, he takes the opportunity to peek under Claire’s skirt and, though the audience doesn’t see, it is implied that he touches her inappropriately.”
“What’s more, as I can see now, Bender sexually harasses Claire throughout the film. When he’s not sexualising her, he takes out his rage on her with vicious contempt, calling her ‘pathetic’, mocking her as ‘Queenie’. It’s rejection that inspires his vitriol.”
Ringwald noted that, despite all of this, the film sees him “get the girl in the end”.
“If attitudes toward female subjugation are systemic, and I believe that they are, it stands to reason that the art we consume and sanction plays some part in reinforcing those same attitudes.”